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International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreting

Jemina Napier, Editor

Publication Year: 2009

From the moment the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) was established in 2005, an overwhelming wave of requests from around the world arrived seeking information and resources for educating and training interpreters. This new collection provides those answers with an international overview on interpreter training from experts in Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, and the United States. Whether from income-rich or income-poor countries, the 31 contributors presented here provide insights on how sign language interpreter training has developed in each nation, and also how trainers have dealt with the difficulties that they encountered. Many of the contributors relate the movement away from ad hoc short courses sponsored by Deaf communities. They mark the transition from the early struggles of trainers against the stigmatization of sign languages to full-time degree programs in institutions of higher education funded by their governments. Others investigate how culture, religion, politics, and legislation affect the nurturing of professional sign language interpreters, and they address the challenges of extending training opportunities nationally through the use of new technology. Together, these diverse perspectives offer a deeper understanding and comparison of interpreter training issues that could benefit the programs in every nation.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vii

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PREFACE: The Conference of Interpreter Trainers and Its Influence on the Past, Present, and Future

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pp. xi-xii

The need for the exchange of information between interpreter trainers is significant. The importance can be seen by learning from the history of interpreter education in the United States. Dating as far back as June 14–17, 1964, a Workshop on Interpreting for the Deaf was held at Ball State Teachers College in Muncie, Indiana. During this workshop, the participants...

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pp. xiii-xiv

Ubuntu, a word from the Xhosa people of Africa, has been in the headlines recently; it has no real English equivalent, but one definition by Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes a person with ubuntu as being someone open and available to others, someone who is not only willing to share but to be vulnerable and admit their weaknesses. A person with ubuntu has the...

Part One-Europe

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Sign Language Interpreter Training in Austria: An Integrated Approach

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pp. 3-14

Translator and interpreter training in Austria started during World War II. As translation and interpreting began to expand as a professional field, a number of training institutions were founded throughout Europe. The University of Vienna started training translators and interpreters in 1943; the Universities of Graz and Innsbruck launched their courses in 1946 (Wilss, 1999). Until 1972, translator and interpreter education in Austria...

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Sign Language Interpreter Training in Finland

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pp. 15-34

IN Finland, sign language interpreter training programs are provided at the university level. The training involves completion of 240 points according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and requires four years of full-time study at a university of applied sciences. Three sign language interpreter training programs exist in Finland: at the Humak University of Applied Sciences (Humanistinen ammattikorkeakoulu) in...

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Three Leaps of Faith and Four Giant Steps: Developing Interpreter Training in Ireland

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pp. 35-56

Ireland may be unique in a European context insofar as the demand for spoken language conference interpreting has been relatively recent.1 In part this is due to our economic history: Until the 1990s, Ireland’s economy was extremely depressed, and while both Irish (sometimes referred to as Gaelic) and English are official languages of Ireland, in practice, English is the working language of the state. Ireland...

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Beginnings of the Interpreter Training Program in Kosovo

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pp. 57-76

Kosovo is situated in Western Europe in the Balkans, and its neighboring countries are Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Albania. Yugoslavian soldiers and paramilitaries forced approximately one million Albanians out of Kosovo. In 1999, NATO struck out against the former Yugoslavia and President Slobodan Milosevic to put a stop to the genocide. After years...

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Linguistic Variation as a Challenge for Sign Language Interpreters and Sign Language Interpreter Education in the Netherlands

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pp. 77-95

Dutch people speak many languages, which is commonly linked to the history of the Netherlands as a trading nation. French, German, and English have been taught to high school students for many decades now, occasionally being supplemented by Spanish and, more recently, Chinese. At the same time, the use of a spoken language interpreter is a common phenomenon. In the context of the European Union, interpreting between...

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From Small Acorns: The Scottish Experience of Developing Interpreter and Translator Training

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pp. 96-123

SCOTLAND IS one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, together with England, Northern Ireland, and Wales.1 It is a small country with a population of 5,062,011 (2001 Census)—around a tenth of the U.K. as a whole. A sizable proportion, approximately 3.5 million, of the Scottish population live and work in the central belt of the country; the remainder live in towns and cities...

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Interpreter Education in Sweden: A Uniform Approach to Spoken and Signed Language Interpreting

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pp. 124-145

In Sweden, the Code of Juridical Procedure (r

Part Two- Asia-Pacific

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Interpreting Down Under: Sign Language Interpreter Education and Training in Australia

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pp. 149-170

The sheer size of Australia and the country’s geographical settlement patterns have presented some challenges for the development of sign language interpreter education and training “Down Under.” The land area of mainland Australia is almost as large as the United States (excluding Alaska), about 50% greater than Europe (excluding the former USSR), and 32 times greater than the United Kingdom (about-australia.com). Yet only...

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Isa Lei: Interpreter Training in Fiji

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pp. 171-189

Figi is a small island nation consisting of over 300 islands scattered over 850 kilometers (528 miles) in the South Pacific Ocean. It is where Melanesia and Polynesia meet. The capital of Fiji is Suva, on the largest island of Viti Levu (see Figure 1). According to the latest government census (2007), Fiji has a population of 827,900, with 473,983 (57%) of indigenous Fijian descent and 311,591 (37%) of Indo-Fijian descent (Fiji Islands...

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Training of Sign Language Interpreters in Japan: Achievements and Challenges

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pp. 190-199

In order to discuss how sign language interpreter training began in Japan, we will provide a historical context. The training of sign language interpreters by deaf people in Japan did not start with a clear intention. Things started to change in 1963 when a citizens’ volunteer group, which called themselves Mimizuku (long-eared owl), began meeting regularly. Their...

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Sign Language Interpreter Education and the Profession in New Zealand

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pp. 200-218

Located in the South Pacific Ocean, “next door” to Australia, New Zealand (NZ) is a nation of 4 million inhabitants of whom 67% are Caucasian (or European), 15% are indigenous Māori, 9% Asian, and 7% Pacific Islanders (Statistics NZ, 2007). Estimates of the deaf sign language community’s population range between 4,500 and 7,700, with Māori being overrepresented within the deaf population (Dugdale, 2000; Statistics...

Part Three- The Americas

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Brazilian Sign Language Interpreter Education in Brazil: From Voluntary Work to Formal Distance Learning

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pp. 221-247

The federal University of Santa Catarina offers the only program to educate sign language teachers and sign language translators and interpreters in Brazil. This program adheres to the legislation that requires the introduction of Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) in the curriculum of all education and audiology programs, as well as sign language accessibility in...

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Traveling the Path of Excellence in Interpreter Education: The Canadian Experience

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pp. 248-266

Canada is physically the second largest country in the world, consisting of 10 provinces and 3 territories. There are two official spoken languages, English and French, although the majority of French speakers are concentrated in Quebec and New Brunswick, with some French speakers in Northern Ontario as well (see the Appendix for a map of Canada). The largest cities predominantly cluster close to the Canada–U.S. border where...

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The National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers in the United States of America

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pp. 267-292

The United States has, in many ways, been a pioneer in various aspects of sign language interpreting as a profession: the first national professional organization for sign languages interpreters, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), was founded in the U.S. in 1964; the first national certification and assessment system was introduced by the RID in 1972; and various federal laws (e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act) created...

Part Four- Africa

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Sign Language Interpreter Training in Kenya

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pp. 295-300

The history of interpretation is as old as Deaf culture itself. Wherever deaf people have been, interpretation has always been there. Deaf people, of course, do not live in isolation. They live amid their hearing brothers, sisters, and other relatives. According to the Kenya Campaign on Disability and HIV/AIDS advocacy proposal 2008, approximately 3.5 million people in Kenya are currently living with disabilities. This translates...


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pp. 301-308


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pp. 309-312

E-ISBN-13: 9781563684586
E-ISBN-10: 1563684586
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563684111
Print-ISBN-10: 156368411X

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 10 tables, 9 figures, 4 photographs
Publication Year: 2009